Francis Raven

4 Poems

A tree is almost always reduced to a few nuts and stump.

“It was such a small comment; it wasn’t really worthy of questions.”

edging up
the valuable half
of a thigh

You will be duly noted, your presence, your essence.

Desiccated Peel

I’m so dry that
my skin drinks lotion
like a whale
drinks malt liquor.
But there are some places
I can’t reach
(like just below
where my arm attaches
to my torso)
so I have to ask you
to throw
the Olde English
on my back.
This is the absolute pinnacle
of mammalian grooming techniques
though it stinks
as bad as pouring vinegar
on the sleepy surf of a sunburn.

Abrupt Appearance

Turn as another, into
but between as never
seen. Never a separate.
A shape that could
have meant, but cannot,
because is not, or
is not now. Each direction
as itself, only and no
between, each species had
to at least be able to exist,
at least. The fossil record
is shallow. The seas are
shallow. We could have
waded. I could not have been
another because there is
no other, at least. Never
a separate. Boats,
I would say, we will get there,
if turning, but could not
possibly remember getting.
We had to sleep. Between
species. Between directions.
The ocean looks the same, shallow.
If I am the sediment, turning
blocks through my hands,
pretending to remember the sounds
of absent animals, but they never,
never were able. Never a separate,
each connected to a distinct,
at least if not worn
this city could be another
before it wasn’t as another, into.


behind the page, awfully ready
folded incompletely, but still
don’t you remember that day
we used to fold those
so carefully seen behind
that screen, your silhouette
gender ready, inclined, so relax this
letout the seams
so we could, this aerodynamic
guess it’s true, how paper ages
yellows, I’m sure you’d do the
same for me, narrowed into
what could be said
behind another word said by another
not even your fold to begin with
at least you’re cute enough
to attempt a finish, neatly
no grubby hands to ache
against a crane
but a harsh move will crush or decide
to leave, a final finish in decision
what to take against new spaces
what we buy is the way we live
behind another’s fold, in supposed closure
of another’s word.

Francis Raven is a graduate student in philosophy at Temple University. His first book of poems, Taste: Gastronomic Poems (Blazevox, 2005), and novel, Inverted Curvatures (Spuyten Duyvil, 2005), were recently published. His poems have also been published in Mudlark, Conundrum, Chain, Big Bridge, Bird Dog, Caffeine Destiny, and Spindrift among others. His critical work can be found in Jacket, Logos, Clamor, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, The Electronic Book Review, The Emergency Almanac, The Morning News, The Brooklyn Rail, Media and Culture, In These Times, The Fulcrum Annual, Rain Taxi, and Flak.